Continuous Integration (CI) is a DevOps software development practice that enables the developers to merge their code changes in the central repository to run automated builds and tests. It refers to the process of automating the integration of code changes coming from several sources. The process comprises several automation tools that emphasize on the code’s correctness before Integration.
Continuous Integration is the best practice for software development that has a set of critical principles. Some of the principles of CI are revision control, automated testing, and build automation. The process is not known to get rid of bugs but makes it easy to find and remove bugs.
What CI Does?
Continuous Integration is a software development practice that integrates code into a shared repository frequently. This is done by developers several times a day each time they update the codebase. Each of these integrations can then be tested automatically.
One of the main benefits of integrating regularly and testing each integration is that you can detect errors more quickly and locate them easily. Since each integration or update to codebase is usually small, pinpointing the exact change that causes the error can be done quickly.
•Prerequisites for doing Continuous Integration
The basic prerequisites for implementing continuous integration include:
•More frequent commits to a single source code repository, and
•Providing visibility of the process and real-time access to CI status to the team.
To understand the importance of CI, here are some of its benefits:
1. Reduces Risk
The frequent testing and deployment of code reduce the project’s risk level, as now the code defects and bugs can be detected earlier. This states that these bugs and errors can be easily fixed and take less time, making the overall process cheaper. The general working speeds up the feedback mechanism that makes the communication smoother and effective.
2. Better Communication
The Continuous Integration process collaborates with the Continuous Delivery workflow that makes code sharing easy and regularized. This makes the process more transparent and collaborative among team members. In the long term, this makes the communication speed more efficient and makes sure that everyone in the organization is on the same page.
3. Higher Product Quality
Continuous Integration provides features like Code review and Code quality detection, making the identification of errors easy. If the code does not match the standard level or a mistake, it will be alerted with emails or SMS messages. Code review helps the developers to improve their programming skills continually.
4. Reduced Waiting Time
The time between the application development, integration, testing, and deployment is considerably reduced. When this time is reduced, it, in turn, reduces the waiting time that may occur in the middle. CI makes sure that all these processes continue to happen no matter what.
If your organization strives to reap the benefits of a DevOps approach or simply has a multiple-developer software team, CI is important. It will help your engineering organization execute quicker and more effectively.
CI is a standard fixture of modern high efficiency software development organizations. The best companies have robust CI pipelines and don’t think twice about further efficiency investments. The benefits of CI are not limited to the engineering team and applicable to the whole organization.
Many third-party tools exist to aid in CI management and installation. Some popular options are Codeship, Bitbucket Pipelines, SemaphoreCI, CircleCI, Jenkins, Bamboo, Teamcity, and many others. These tools have their own in-depth setup guides and documentation to help get started.